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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"Once you win their hearts and minds, what are you going to do with it?" : exploring the cultural repertoires of elementary school teachers in France and Canada. Frohard-Dourlent, Hélène


Although education is heralded as a national priority in France and Canada, previous research has suggested that the experience of schooling is very different in both countries. This can be noticed as early as elementary school, where teachers in both countries work towards similar goals of literacy, but with different techniques and conceptual tools. Drawing on classroom observations and thirty-five interviews with elementary school teachers in France and Canada, this study explores the way that educators talk about their roles, responsibilities and everyday practices to illustrate how their discourses are shaped by the national educational repertoires available to teachers. Through focusing on the contrasting ideologies of social pluralism that are multiculturalism and républicanisme (in Canada and France respectively), this research illuminates in particular the influence that national projects of diversity have over teachers’ discourses and practices when it comes to conceptualizing the role that diversity can play in the classroom. This difference in how diversity is imagined closely interacts with differing ideas about effective teacher techniques to create dissimilar learning environments in France and in Canada in terms of the teacher-student relationship, classroom space, and the value of student diversity.

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